June 24, 2011

Passage - Calling Young Men to Manhood

Christian & Ben
The last month two of my son's have had significant milestones that we've enjoyed memorializing in special ways.

First, my second son Ben graduated from High School in late May.  We began planning a home party and barbecue but he grew uncomfortable with that idea and instead asked for a small dinner with some men  and young guys that have been a part of his life.  I organized this group of men and I asked them to consider bringing advice and wisdom for Ben.  We gathered at a nice resturant and began to enjoy a meal.  While we ate, many of the older guys shared stories from their college days, usually highlighting something they would have done differently or a fun memory.

my older sons

I spoke about Christian and then I spoke to him
My third son Christian turned 13 in April and I organized a camping trip to Hanging Rock State Park in June.  There were a few other sons of dads who were turning 13 or 14 so we invited about 6 other families along. At this ceremony, held the second night, I shared with Christian three things; Why I love him, Why I'm proud of him and Why I know he has what it takes to be a man.  It's important for a boy (and a man) to have these life-long questions settled in his heart and it's such a blessing to hear them from the most important man in your life, dad.  It's been my tradition to plan a special passage ceremony for my son's at the ages of 13, 18 and prior to their wedding week (though none have made it that far yet).  Also, around the age of 15, I take my sons to an incredibly special father-son, week long adventure in Jackson Hole Wyoming called Christ in the Tetons.

These moments of calling my sons up to manhood have been some of the most precious moments of my life.  The older ones have gone from being my little buddies, then crazy teenagers and now, so gratefully, my close friends and allies.  All of us too often simply let life happen without recognizing the transitions that are happening around us, like a boy becoming a man.  While I still make huge mistakes with my young men and am still learning much, I encourage you to be intentional and strategic during this time in your sons life.

p.s. for those who are real adventurous or who live "down under", checkout my good friend's organization Fathering Adventures in Australia.

p.s.s. also a great resource in understanding the boyhood to manhood journey is Robert Lewis' classic book Raising a Modern Day Knight

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  1. Now that's intentional fathering Ron! Well done! Your sons know what it means to be truly authentic men, because of the LIFE you have imparted, and continue to impart to them Ron.
    You're a genuine servant leader Ron... the real deal... and I for one am proud to call you my friend.

    Oh and thanks too for mentioning 'Fathering Adventures'. Hopefully we'll be able to get you down here for a 5 Night Father-Son Adventure one day... maybe when the U.S. dollar gets a little stronger.

  2. Such a great role model! Thanks for serving and leading your family so well and for sharing your lives with us!

  3. Congrats!! I'm 21, from Chile, South America and we are 6 sisters (girls) and a mom and a dad. And its already tough, I couldn' t imagine how tough could be having 10 girls!!! :O


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